Struggling to deal with boyfriend's depression.

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My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year now. About 6 months in to our relationship, he started displaying some pretty clear warning signs for depression. He wasn't sleeping or eating well, he stopped exercising and doing pretty much everything except going to work and coming home. He started drinking more and partying harder, and gambling stupid amounts of money away. I encouraged him to go to a doctor, which he eventually did, where he was prescribed some antidepressants. He has been on these for upwards of four months, and they don't appear to be helping. I've tried telling him to go and see someone, to go back to his doctor, but when he falls into his depressions, he stops listening to me. He pushes me away, and accuses me of not caring.

We don't live together, I live with my parents still and he lives with some housemates. He works a full-time hospitality job and pays bills, and money is a constant sore spot for him. He seems to resent me buying things, or me spending money. I do almost everything with him, but if i ever go away on holiday, or out with friends, he reacts really badly. He has it in his mind that he is just an insignificant piece in my life and that I have forced him to fit into my life just the way I want. This is really confusing to me, because to me, relationships are all about fitting in to the other person's life. It works both ways.

When he's feeling down, he pushes me away. He says it's to protect me, or so that he can have some space. If I push further, to understand, he snaps and explodes about how I don't care about him, and that when he needs me most I'm not there. This is completely irrational and really f*****g hurtful for me, because I try so hard to be there and support him, and he resents me for it.

All the things he says I justify because I know he is hurting, and I don't react to the stupid things he says just to get a rise out of me. If I try the hardline and discuss with him how disrespectful he is being or how hurt I am, he turns and starts beating himself up about how s**t of a person he is, and how I should leave and go and live my life. If I just cop whatever he says and do the whole "I'm sorry you're feeling that way", it somehow turns into my fault, and I end up feeling like s**t.

I don't know how to deal with his seemingly circular logic. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I've been putting all of my heart and soul into this relationship and making it work, and I feel like I'm getting nothing in return. Don't get me wrong, when it's good, it's perfect. We work so well together, and express our mutual love for each other in all the ways imaginable. He makes creative dates, writes heartfelt notes, and is incredibly compassionate and kind. It just makes these times so much harder for me (as selfish as that may be) because I have so little consistency. I don't know how better to deal with this, and I don't know what I can say to make him believe I care.

Any advice is welcomed, thank you in advance.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello J

    He shows the distinctive signs of a depression and His actions towards you are quite normal.

    You say He is on AD Medications and has been on them for four months. I would recommend He goes back to talk to His Doctor and it may be He will need the medications increased, this can be standard procedure.

    I gather you do not understand why the depression struck Him. In my case I am a firm believer in a course of CBT that the GP can arrange. He needs to come to terms with His illness and also pick up various techniques that may help Him.

    Talking out His problems may help Him come to terms with His negative feelings and given time, He should understand why He has suffered and ways of addressing His problems. Sometimes after treatment people can sometimes make changes to their live if large or small may be immaterial He may have the need to move on in many different ways. However He needs to understand His negativity, these changes may be very small it can be difficult to say here.

    All I can advise is that you be firm and kind, it makes no difference if ill or not, He needs to respect you and any help you give Him. It may mean walking away for a time or letting go. Only you can make those decisions. They will most probably be down to outlook


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    • Posted

      Thank you for your comment. He is fiercely independent and struggles to admit fault, so it is hard for him to come to terms with being ill. He doesn’t like the idea of talking to someone, because he doesn’t think it will help, but I’m trying to be firm in my advice and actions. I’m trying to take care of myself a little more, because the relationship is really taxing on me right now. 

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    • Posted


      Your boyfriend is following a well trodden pathway, Depression can show as a form of distrust to those close around Him. eventually this can get worse where He will verbally attack you and if He gets worse it may become worse. for you and you will become tired and upset with his attitude towards you

      We do not know the cause of His problems and I would imagine He will not be able to associate the main reasons for His problems. It is very important that He gets Specialist help, if not can you imagine what sort of life is waiting for you if He will nor accept Help.

      You need to push him toward getting help from His GP Practice.

      Sad to say He will put off this visit and if He becomes worse the relationship may fail, you will need to protect yourself and your well being. He will show anger and become uptight. and worry regards His condition as it possibly gets worse

      When push comes to shove you may find your health may suffer especially if He fears unable to come to terms with this illness.

      You may be pushed to make some decisions to protect yourself and possibly you may need to breakaway for your own health.



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  • Posted

    Your boyfriends depression sounds exactly like mine. Even down to the bit where you said about going out with your friends. I was the same with my partner.

    I've been with my partner almost 10 years, but for the last 2 years I treated her the same way your boyfriend treats you so I will give you a little insight into how he might be feeling.

    His behaviour towards you isn't normal, and isn't acceptable. But, they are classic signs of sever depression. When I was being negative towards my partner it wasn't intentional.

    I got to a point where I was so low I stopped caring about everything. I love my partner so much - even through the depression - but I found it hard to feel emotion. The only emotion I had was sadness and anger.

    My partner said it felt like she was always walking on egg shells. My son started acting up at school and home. I was getting a too strict. But non of this I was consciously aware of. I thought everyone else was in the wrong and they had the problem. In reality it was me. I also blamed my partner for not caring.

    Your boyfriend is at a point where it's hard for him to be rational. He needs his meds adjusting. My doc had me on a high dose AD from the start. He told me to fight the side effects and it will get better. Sure enough he was right!

    I look back at the old me and it hurts me to think I hurt a lot of people. I don't know that person I was. My partner is happy again. My son is happy again. I am happier than I was. I now show love towards them both because my mind is in a better place and I can feel emotions again.

    He needs to get help and have his meds sorted.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your response, it’s provided some much needed insight! This sounds exactly like what my boyfriend has been dealing with. I feel just like your partner - I am constantly tiptoeing around him, watching what I say as to not trigger an outburst in him. 

      Do you mind me asking if you got better from just taking antidepressants? Or did you also see someone? My worry with my boyfriend is that he is bottling up all of this inside him and ignoring it, to the point where he can’t control his emotions. 

      I hope you’re doing better now! Thanks again. 

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    • Posted

      It must be a horrible situation to have to watch what you say and do. I've not been on that side of the fence but I can sympathise. My partner is very firm so if I had an outburst she wouldn't stand for it. She was adamant that although I was mentally ill she shouldn't be expected to change. I completely agree with her too.

      I started AD's about 7 weeks ago and from the first day I took them my anger reduced. Mostly because the sertraline wiped me out. I was on 100mg, now on 150mg. It turned me into a zombie for a few weeks and they're slowly working now.

      I had one bad argument between the time I started and now. That was because I skipped a dose and the following day I was horrible. Even more proof I need the meds.

      He needs to be brutally honest with the doctor and be prepared to help. You can't be expected to be treated that way. I'm so lucky my partner stuck around. I doubt many girls would. If I didn't get help she would have certainly left.

      It's hard for a man to reach out for help. It's a pride thing. We do bottle it up. But now is the time he needs to accept it.

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    • Posted

      Thank you this has been really helpful. I’m glad you’re doing better! I’m going to do what I can to keep supporting him and keep telling him that he needs help. I’m trying to firmer in my responses because I think it does help in the long run. Thanks again!
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